View Full Version : The Kee Bird

Onan the Clumsy
23rd May 2004, 14:55
Last night, I watched the NOVA documentary about the group of people who went to salvage a B29 from Greenland.

I'm sure you all know the story and its unhappy ending, but for anyone who doesn't, they hung new engines and props, replaced the tyres and recovered the control surfaces. The plan was to fly it back to Thule, but as they were taxiing out, the tank on the APU cut loose, started a fire and the entire aircraft was destroyed.

My question is this: Were those a gallant bunch of intrepid, hard working, dedicated aircraft preservationists who should be lauded for their efforts and sympathised with for the final result, or were they a ham fisted bunch of opportunistic lunatics who's ineptitude destroyed a possibly flyable rare aircraft with immense historical significance?

Or does the truth, as usual, lie somewhere in between?

Also does anyone know, did they let the lake claim wreckage or did they at least try to salvage the good engines and props and the mostly complete tail section?

It was interesting to see the site when they first got there. There were packets and oxygen masks etc lying around, just where the crew had left them fifty years ago.

Cyclic Hotline
23rd May 2004, 17:19
If you liked the TV show - you'll love the book!

Hunting Warbirds (http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?0345436180)

The book contains a much more detailed account, including the first visit to the aircraft, when they put it back up on wheels.

An excellent read. :ok:

24th May 2004, 03:03
There's more info on the original flight and rescue here (www.b29keebird.net/) and the attempted recovery here (www.rb-29.net/HTML/03RelatedStories/03.03shortstories/03.03.09contss.htm).
The new engines and props were lost when the wreckage sank after the ice melted the following spring.